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Beyond Pesticides Rating: Toxic

Propetamphos in an organophosphate insecticide used for the control of roaches, ants, fleas, ticks, moths, mosquitoes, and termites either indoors or in vector eradication programs to protect public health, and in veterinary applications to combat parasites including ticks, lice and mites in livestock. Its total annual usage is estimated to be 90,000 pounds active ingredient (U.S. EPA, 2000). Propetamphos is in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicity class II, moderately toxic and labels must carry the signal word "Warning." 

Acute Toxicity

Orally, propetamphos is considered moderately toxic, with a LD50 75-119 mg/kg in rats. It is slightly toxic dermally, with LD50 values of 2,300 to greater than 3,100 mg/kg in rats, and greater than 10,000 mg/kg in rabbits. It is slightly toxic via inhalation.  Acute exposure can cause nausea, numbness, tingling, incoordination, headache, tremor, dizziness, confusion, abdominal cramps, sweating, blurred vision, respiratory paralysis, neurological and neuromuscular effects, and death due to cholinesterase inhibition (ETN, 1996).  

Chronic Toxicity

Studies have indicated that propetamphos does not cause reproductive toxicity, is not teratogenic, is weakly or nonmutagenic, and is noncarcinogenic. The primary target organ affected by propetamphos is the nervous system (ETN, 1996).  

Environmental Fate

There are no data available concerning the breakdown of propetamphos in soil, groundwater, or vegetation. It is rapidly degraded in water only under extreme pH conditions or in the presence of sunlight (ETN, 1996). 

Effects on Wildlife

Propetamphos is moderately toxic to birds, and highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates (ETN, 1996). 


Extension Toxicology Network (ETN). 1996. Pesticide Information Profiles: Propetamphos. <http://ace.orst.edu/cgi-bin/mfs/01/pips/propetam.htm>. 

U.S. EPA. 2000. Reregistration Eligibility Document: Propetamphos. Office of Pesticide Programs. Washington D.C.